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All Education Content

Parent of Normal student speaks out about Jon White

NORMAL – The Urbana second-grade teacher charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault acted inappropriately with a female student while he was a teacher in Normal, and the school district there knew about it, the girl's mother said.

The mother said that in the spring of 2005, Jon White – who was then teaching at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal – gave her fifth-grade daughter several pictures of an actress dressed in a bra and sport coat and told the daughter she looked like the actress.

Tax swap for schools sought; Frerichs proposes alternate plan

SPRINGFIELD – School funding reform proponents introduced legislation on Thursday to raise income taxes and expand the sales tax to include services like haircuts and lawn care. The extra money, some $9 billion a year, would be used to improve school funding, offer property tax relief and help pay off the state's massive pension debt.

"With Illinois ranking 49th among the 50 states when it comes to providing its share of school funding, it's time for us to redirect our priorities and recognize that the only way to close the student achievement gap and alleviate property tax burdens is to enact legislation that calls for sustainable education funding reform," said state Sen. James Meeks, D-Chicago. "SB750 will ensure that all schools operate at adequate funding levels and provide the children of Illinois – regardless of income, race, ZIP code and special needs, the opportunity to receive a quality education."

Bement disciplines five students for drug incident

BEMENT – At a special meeting Tuesday night, Bement school board members voted to expel two students involved in a drug sales incident at the high school.

They also expelled three other students "in abeyance."

Urbana parents frustrated after meeting

URBANA – Even before the first question was voiced at a packed meeting for parents at Thomas Paine Elementary School, new information came from the school district related to the case about Jon White, the teacher charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

"Principal Janice Bradley was put on administrative leave," said district Superintendent Gene Amberg. "That was done this morning by me."

Urbana school district will conduct internal, external reviews

URBANA – With the Urbana school board meeting barely begun, board President Joyce Hudson addressed concerns about the school district's process in hiring Jon White, an Urbana teacher at Thomas Paine Elementary School now charged with predatory criminal sexual assault.

Hudson said the board had asked Superintendent Gene Amberg to launch an internal review of the district's handling of the situation. "He is currently gathering the facts and will report to the board," she said.

Police investigation into school molestation widens

Police in Normal have opened an investigation into allegations that a teacher charged with molesting students in Urbana may have been inappropriate with students when he taught in Normal.

Normal Assistant Police Chief Kirk Ijams said Tuesday his department has received "several" calls from parents regarding Jon Andrew White, 26, of Normal, who was a teacher at two different grade schools in the McLean County Unit 5 school district from 2002 to 2005.

Thomas Paine meeting with parents set for Wednesday

URBANA – Parents of Thomas Paine Elementary School students will have a chance Wednesday to voice their concerns in the wake of the arrest of teacher Jon White, 26, of Normal, on charges of sexually molesting children in school.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., representatives from the Urbana school district and Mental Health Center of Champaign County and possibly the Urbana Police Department will be available to parents. The meeting will take place at the gymnasium in the school, at 1801 James Cherry Drive, U.

Mother 'furious' with Urbana school officials

URBANA – The parent of a young girl at Thomas Paine School who is believed to have been molested by second-grade teacher Jon White a year ago said she is "furious" with Urbana school district administrators and feels they are working to protect each other more than students.

"They're still stonewalling. This has to stop. We have to stop protecting careers over kids," said the mother, who agreed to talk to The News-Gazette on the condition she not be identified. The News-Gazette has a long-standing policy of not identifying victims of sex crimes.

Urbana school board president to step down early

URBANA – Urbana school board members will choose a new president when they meet next week.

Joyce Hudson, the current president of the board, has decided to step down from that post as of Tuesday, said district spokeswoman Kathy Wallig.

Champaign high schools targeting tardiness

CHAMPAIGN – Central High School Principal Bill Freyman greeted students streaming into the building on a recent morning, asking some about their weekends and teasing others that they weren't dressed warmly enough. But as the clock ticked closer to 8:15, Freyman began urging students to hurry to class.

"Come on, guys. You've got about four minutes," he told a group approaching the school. "Hurry, hurry. You should be able to make it."